“But why did Jesus have to die on a cross? It's so much gory and the humiliation before the death of Jesus it’s really terrible. Did Jesus really had to go through all these? He is the Son of God, then why Rafael?
“Yes Rebecca, He had to go through all these because each and every action during the passion of Christ (The sufferings before the death of Christ and the death itself), has amany significances in our human life. So we start from the cross.” All nodded.
“The cross has many significances, Can you name any one?” all nodded in the negative.
“Well, its OK, I’ll say, the most important one is, It is a symbol of a junction or a cross road. Now let me ask a question?” All nodded “You are travelling to a new place and when you come to a cross road what will you do?”
“Stop or slow and check the sign and decide which way to go.”
“Hmm. Mark, that’s an expert talking.” All smiled and Rafael continued, “Yes we either slow down or stop, because we do not know the way, then we decide. Likewise, in order to reach God, we would surely come to a cross road, only then we’ll decide, without coming to the cross road, you won’t even think about it.”
“Which cross road Rafael?”
“The cross road of life, some very deep hurt, that makes us think about the life we are living, like sickness or death or an accident or a loss, anything in life can make us slow or pause in order to think, are we in the right track? That is when we say we are in the cross road of life.” All nodded
“OK we stop and decide. Then what?”
“Yes Mathew, if we have to find the right track, we should strip ourselves of our ego, just like Jesus was stripped.”
“What is ego Rafael?”
“It's a feeling that you are a very important person, so everyone should respect you, that feeling.”
“Yes, Rebecca, it's our outer covering of fake identity, that should be taken out and be our simple self, innocent as a child and it would never be easy, never ever think, it is easy.”
“Oh God!!! Its really a nightmare. Then what does the lashing of Jesus signifies?”
“It means, the lashing of hurt words, actions that hurt us, hurtful looks, etc.. which we have to face in our daily lives, these all happens when we have decided to take the path to reach God, the crowning with thorns signifies, the crown of shame, humiliation, non entity we will have to wear several times, Jesus fell several times, with the cross, that is what happens in our lives too when we are utterly broken by loneliness, unhappiness, humiliation, sickness, financial problems, lovelessness, joblessness there would be a lot of onlookers, but no one would help you, but God will make sure, that there would be someone in this whole wide world, to take your cross, then each and every piercing of the hands and legs when we are unable to move a single step forward or backward but by that time we would reach the very limit, our ego would be stripped to the last trace but ther is one more hurdle to cross in order to get the final glory.”
“Oh!! What is it Rafael?”
“We should forgive and forgive wholeheartedly to those who hurt us, only then will we reach God’s abode – Heaven.”
“Rafael, what do you think, is it really worth all these sufferings in order to reach heaven? It's simply scaring.”
“Good question. Do you remember that nature is a maze and man is creating it. That is what will happen to man, who cannot go through the suffering.”
“How come that be possible Rafael. How does it become a maze?”
“Let me say a story.” All perked up.
“Once upon a time in a village, A poor boy was gifted by a sage three bottles. One was the bottle of peace, the second the bottle of happiness and third was the bottle of prosperity. But there was a condition, to open the bottle, the boy has to pass three hurdles, a river infested with snakes, second a forest filled with wild animals and a mountain full of thorns.”
“Oh, its better the boy give back the bottles.”
“Yes, Mark, hearing the three conditions, the boy said, “Sorry Master, I’m not brave enough to cross the river or the forest or the mountain and returned the bottles to the sage.”
“Oh!!! Its so foolish.” Rafael smiled and continued, “But a girl who overheard this, requested the sage, “Sire, will you give it to me? I’ll take it and I’ll cross the river, the forest and the mountain, If God helps me.” The sage was very happy and gave the three bottles to the girl. She took it home and decided not to say to anybody and kept it in a secret place. Before long, a drought struck the village and there was not a single drop of water for miles around. Al the families moved out of the village in search of water and food. The boy’s family too did the same. But the courageous girl requested her parents to wait for a day or two more and she set out with the three bottles to cross the river – the snake infested river. But lo behold! The river was completely dry though she was a bit nervous, she overcame it by praying hard to God and crossed the dry ground, immediately one of the bottles opened up, the bottle of peace. Now all her fear fled from her mind. She again walked forward to her next destination - the forest filled with wild animals and to her surprise, she found that the forest had dried up due to severe drought and all the animals had shifted their residence out of it. She again crossed the forest without mishap. Immediately her bottle of happiness opened up and then she came to the mountain, where it was full of thorns. She didn’t know what to do, the thorns looked much more ferocious in the scorching heat, she held the bottles tightly in her hands and closed her eyes tightly and prayed, God, open the right path and taking a deep breath she opened the eyes to see the sage who had presented her the bottles in front of her. She blinked with surprise, “Oh sire, its wonderful to see you. I was just planning to climb the mountain and thank you I was able to open the first two bottles by the grace of God.” The sage smilingly nodded and closed his eyes in prayer and the girl too did the same. “Child, your way has been cleared you can go.” Hearing the sage, the girl opened the eyes to find that the bottle open, giving her eternal prosperity. But the sage had disappeared. The girl returned home to live a life of happiness, peace and prosperity.”
“Now what happened to the boy Rafael?”
“In the meantime, the boy walked and walked with no end. He was thirsty and hungry, but he thought, it was his fate. But what do you think, was it his fate or was it his decision that turned his fate?”
“Well his decision naturally. He could have at least tried.” All nodded.
“Right Mark. This boy who had been poor had been searching for prosperity, happiness and peace before he met the sage. When the sage gave the opportunity, he got scared and threw away his opportunity and again he is repeating the same act of searching prosperity, happiness and peace. So he is going the same way again and again.”
“Yes, Rafael, the boy is really in a maze going the same way again and again, in short everyday.” All nodded
“Yes, Mathew, its true. For every destination there are two ways, one the right way and the other the wrong way, the wrong way never ends towards the destination but to the look alike destination, while the right way reaches the destination. So how many routes are there to reach the destination?”
“Exactly, only one and if you want to reach your goal, you can go only through that one road.”
This story proves that goal can be achieved only if you are brave. If you fear hardship you would not be able to live life. Be courageous and face all the difficulties, you will not be alone, there would be someone to help you.” All nodded.
“But Rafael, are you sure, that man will come to the cross roads?”
“Yes Monica, they will, each human being would come and should come to the cross road because, that is the only way to God.”
“Oh then its better we resign to the fact, that we go through this.”
“Don’t feel so depressed Monica, we are all human but did you know, Jesus, who happened to be God Himself wanted to chicken out from the suffering and death.”
“Really? How so?”
“When he saw the suffering He was going to have and the ultimate death, He really He had a very tough time in making the decision. The scriptures says thus
“An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.”
“This happened because He saw what He was going to face but then He knew what He had come here for. He had His duty to fulfill, which he cannot forfeit, so He accepted the cross.”
“So our goal is to reach God, right? and only through the cross we can reach it, right?”
“But Rafael, I cannot understand, why the scriptures say in double meaning? For example, the suffering of Christ, it has so much depth that any normal person would never ever know about it, except as the suffering of Christ. Why so much mystery?” All nodded.
“Exactly Mark. I would explain it to you in great detail tomorrow.” All nodded.
...to be contd....(17)....
Until then... Take care.....Bye